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Morning Briefing: Shaquille O’Neal made a promise he might regret

Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O'Neal
(John Raoux / Associated Press)

Shaquille O’Neal once said he would kiss the feet of any coach whose team made it to the NBA Finals in four out of five years.

Seems like an odd thing to promise — and that’s not even considering that Shaq added that the lucky coach’s foot would have “cheese on it” and that this bizarre ritual would be performed on TV’s “Fear Factor.”

That was after Phil Jackson led O’Neal and the Lakers to the finals four times in five years (2000 to 2004). Shaq was simply saying, in his own way, that no one would ever repeat that feat (pun intended).

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“It’ll never be done again,” O’Neal told ESPN at the time.

In other words, he never had any intention of ever kissing anyone’s feet, with or without any kind of dairy product on top of them.

But now it’s 2019, and Jackson’s accomplishment has not only been matched, but also surpassed. Steve Kerr has taken the Golden State Warriors to the Finals in each of the last five seasons.

Fortunately for Shaq, Kerr doesn’t seem all that into the idea of the big man slobbering all over his toes. He tweeted the old clip of O’Neal promising to pucker up and wrote: “Hey @SHAQ, I’m going to do us both a favor and pretend that @D_West30 didn’t send this to me this morning.”

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Kerr may have let him off the hook, but Shaq is a man of his word. He responded: “I guess I’ll c u in fear factor, and make sure it’s kraft cheese.”

Sports poll

The Dodgers have the best record in baseball, but some fans are concerned that their bullpen will cost them a possible World Series title. So this week’s question is, do you think the Dodgers will win the World Series this year? Vote in our online poll or email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com. Results will be revealed next week.

Your favorite sports moment

What is your favorite all-time L.A. sports moment? Here’s the next one in our occasional series. Email me your favorite sports moment (houston.mitchell@latimes.com) and it might run in a future Morning Briefing.

Our next one comes from Marcelino Hernandez:

“The most exciting moment for me took place in September 1974. The Dodgers and Reds (Big Red Machine) were in the midst of a tight division race. The Dodgers had a one-and-a-half-game lead going into the final game of a 3-game weekend series at home.

“My uncle invited my mom, sister and I to the game along with my grandfather, who would spend his days/evenings listening to Vin Scully.

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“It was a close game entering the bottom of the seventh. The Dodgers loaded the bases, and the Toy Cannon (Jimmy Wynn) was at bat. The Reds had Pedro Borbon on the mound in relief. Wynn smacked a grand slam into the left field bleachers that caused Dodger Stadium to shake. Just as we were all getting ready to sit down, Steve Garvey sent a solo homer to center.

“As I was jumping up and down, I turned and caught my grandfather staring at me with a big smile on his face. It’s an image that has stayed with me all these years. My grandfather died six days later. It was the last time I saw him alive. And to this day, when I go back to Dodger Stadium, I look at the right field bleachers at the spot we were sitting that day, and say a prayer.”


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